Insecurity. It’s something I’ve realized plays a major part in my life. It shows up in decisions I make. It shows up in how I relate to other people. This loss of confidence can be triggered both by the unknown as well as the known.
Let’s look first at the triggers of insecurity. First, there’s knowledge which can spur feelings of insecurity. These beliefs are anchored in reality. Some may be anchored to things that we know to be true about ourselves or our environment:
- We have failed in our past.
- We know our limits to our intelligence, skill, or character.
- Close relationships betrayed our trust before.
- We know the economy is weak.
In the beginning, in the Garden story of Genesis 2, there is security. God walks with Adam in the cool of the day. Adam has been given a helper and a mate. They are together, and naked, and there’s no fear or shame. In a world without sin, there’s no room for distrust or relational fear, or insecurity. But we don’t live in the garden and sin is a daily reality.
We have all experienced failed relationships, and moral failures of various degrees. We have all felt the sting of loss that accompanies a hurtful word, a malicious deed, or a hope that is unfulfilled. And to some extent or another, we these circumstances have robed us of the confidence we held in our prior innocence to these losses.
Our experience and knowledge of real events can lead to a loss of confidence, but so can the unknown. Our feelings of insecurity are also triggered by our lack of certainty or knowledge:
- We feel the risk of a choice because there’s no guarantee things will go the way we hope.
- We don’t pursue a deeper friendship with an acquaintance because we don’t know if it will be reciprocated.
- We don’t volunteer, or apply for a promotion, or start our own business because we aren’t sure we have what it takes.
I think insecurity has it’s road-trip companions who often argue to sit shotgun in our lives. The two I think of first are Fear and Shame. I’ve avoided risks because I’ve been afraid. I’ve avoided risks because I’ve been ashamed of my own sin. I can relate to the feelings of Adam wanting to find something to hide behind when God comes calling.
I’m learning to move through and past insecurity. I’ve realized I have the potential to be a very insecure person. I’d say it comes very naturally. I don’t think this is the way we were designed. I don’t believe that this, with God’s work, is the way we have to remain. Here’s a few beliefs that are helping me take steps even when I feel insecure.
- God is Good and All-powerful. His power is without limit, and in his goodness, he cares about me, and is involved in my life.
- Fear and shame need’t be accepted. I’m learning that both can be entrusted to God. When I feel shame, I remind myself that every sin in my life was reconciled by Jesus on the cross. When I feel afraid, I remind myself of point number 1.
- I also remind myself that God doesn’t expect perfection from me when I’m not capable, but that he’s pleased when I take risks that can honor him, even if I fail.